Linda is one of our current patients and here she shares her inspiring story about her friendship with Jenny, one of our hospice at home nurses, and her determination to raise money for Rennie Grove Hospice Care.
“It’s not the dying part that I find scary. The scary parts for me, are losing the ability to make decisions about my life, being in pain and not knowing how my husband is going to cope after I’m gone. But my Rennie Grove nurse, Jenny, has taken those worries away from me.
“Today, I’d like to tell you how the charity that you support has already helped me on my journey – and will continue to do so in the time I have left.
“My name is Linda, I’m 71, I live in Hemel Hempstead and I’ve been ‘dying’ for quite a long time now – I was first diagnosed with cancer in 1980! I survived that first bout and another serious diagnosis and operation in 2000. Ever since then cancer has been living with me (not the other way round!) and it’s been something that has shaped my life.
“But it has been such a full life. I’ve been so lucky to have my husband, our boys and their families and so, so many wonderful friends. Waking up every morning is a little triumph all on its own – and each time I wonder what I can achieve that day.
“I’m getting towards the end now though. The cancer has spread into my bones and the last session of chemotherapy is simply keeping the cancer in check. I’m on medication but it’s only there to help me deal with the pain – there's no cure now for me.
“But that’s OK. What will be will be – and a lot of the reason I feel able to say that to you is because I have Jenny in my life. My nurse. My friend.
“I first met Jenny in June 2015 when I was told my diagnosis had now become ‘terminal’. Jenny was the one who sat, patiently, and helped me to plan where and how I am going to die. With her support, I was able to decide to whom I want to leave my previous things I have planned my funeral (some of my music choices might raise a few eyebrows!) and I’ve said that I’d like to go into my local hospice for my final days, if there’s a space for me. But it’s so reassuring for me to know that Jenny can care for me right to the very end if needed. Until that time, Jenny will be the one I call to relieve my pain and to support me on the journey towards the calm, peaceful death I hope for.
“I am so lucky to be receiving this brilliant, professional hospice care – which I can count on 24 hours a day. And it makes such a difference knowing that I don’t have to worry about paying for this vital help. Because Jenny is one of Rennie Grove Hospice Care’s Hospice at Home nurses whose time is paid for by the donations local people like you make.
“Thank you! And thank you again!! Your kind generosity has already made such a difference to my life in a very real sense. And, it will continue to do so – because it has ensured that Jenny can be with me every step of the way.
“There’s still much more I want to achieve before I go, though. A last trip with my girlfriends to the Lake District (we’ve been every year for many years). A chance to perform once more in my choir – we’re learning Sunrise Sunset from Fiddler on the Roof at the moment. Seeing Christmas this year would be wonderful – not just because it will bring all the family together again but because it will be our 50th wedding anniversary too. I might get a few more toy sheep to add to my (huge) collection at home! Fingers crossed.
“There’s only really special thing I want to do for Jenny and for Rennie Grove as well. I would like to help them raise enough money to allow Jenny to care for others in my community after I’m gone. I know only too well the value of that care. So, may I please ask you to join me today in making a donation to Rennie Grove Hospice Care?
“I have learned that it costs the charity £25 overall for each hour Jenny spends with a patient like me. Could you help to pay for an hour’s care by a Rennie Grove Hospice at Home nurse for someone like me? Someone perhaps who lives close by you? Rennie Grove provides hospice care for all of us – and wouldn’t it be wonderful to know that their knowledge, compassion and expertise was available when our own loved ones needed it?
“It won’t be me that benefits from your generosity, not this time. But, by supporting Rennie Grove Hospice Care we can make sure that Jenny and her colleagues can be there for another family like mine or yours who needs their help in the future. Please give them something today if you can.
“Thank you again. May I wish you and your loved ones joy, health and happiness for all our days.”
With much love,